Paul Strand Master of Modern Photography Peter Barberie, Amanda Bock, Martin Barnes, Karen Beckman, Tsitsi Jaji, Maria Antonella Pelizzari, Samantha Gainsburg

Publication date:
23 Oct 2014
Yale University Press
372 pages: 330 x 305mm
323 color + 31 b-w illus.
Sales territories:


A fresh account of the career of one of the most important photographers of the 20th century

Through his amazing variety of innovative images, photographer Paul Strand (1890–1976) played a crucial role in establishing the medium's significance as a modern art form. Celebrating the Philadelphia Museum of Art's recent acquisition of the core collection of Strand's prints from the Paul Strand Archive, this stunning book comprehensively reassesses the artist's career in light of current scholarship and critical debates about his work. Featuring more than 250 plates, the catalogue includes many of Strand's iconic early photos such as Wall Street and Blind Woman alongside lesser-known master prints from all phases of his career.
Discussing the artist’s prolific career, from his emergence in Alfred Stieglitz's circle in New York in the early part of the century to his years spent working abroad in places such as Mexico, France, Italy, and Africa, Peter Barberie positions Strand as a remarkably independent modernist whose priorities shifted at several points and often ran counter to prevailing trends. Amanda N. Bock focuses on the years 1930–50, when Strand thoroughly explored the role of politics in modern art and relentlessly sought to identify the greater purposes of photography and filmmaking. The edited transcript from a roundtable discussion among key scholars touches upon many aspects of Strand's various projects from the 1930s to the 1960s. A detailed chronology brings to light new information about the life and work of an extraordinarily important and influential 20th-century photographer. 

Peter Barberie is The Brodsky Curator of Photographs, Alfred Stieglitz Center, Philadelphia Museum of Art. Amanda N. Bock is project assistant curator of photographs, Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland

Fundacn MAPFRE, Madrid


The Victoria and Albert Museum, London

‘With the recent acquisition of the core print collection of his archive this book comprehensively reassesses the artist’s career.’—Independent on Sunday

"Accompanying the eponymous exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through January 4, this 372-page opus reframes Paul Strand’s role in American modernist photography. Central is an excellent essay by Amanda N. Bock that focuses on his political work of the 1930s through ’50s. Bock argues that this work—from multimedia documentary and polemical films to books pairing photographs and text—fulfills Strand’s declaration of “the artist who is also a citizen,” who raises awareness, builds community, and creates collaborative art."—Greg Lindquist, The Brooklyn Rail, Top Ten Art Books of 2014

“…this stunning book comprehensively reassesses the artist's career in light of current scholarship and critical debates about his work.”—Elizabeth Avedon, Best Photography Books of 2014